Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema is a condition that affects the skin making it inflamed and itchy. The main symptoms of eczema are itchy, dry, rough, and inflamed. All of which may flare up then diminish then flare up again. This condition is often seen in children however, it can also be found in teens and adults. There is currently no cure for eczema however, there are self care measures that can help relieve itching and prevent flares such as moisturizing often, identifying and avoiding triggers and watching what you eat.
Different types of eczema exist hence identifying and avoiding triggers is important to distinguish.
Common triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Food allergies
- such as eggs, milk, spices, soy and wheat
- Chemicals from cleaning detergents
A common misconception regarding diet and eczema
Food allergies trigger the immune system reaction causing eczema to flare but unlike anaphylactic shocks, it takes hours to a day of eating the food for the eczema to flare up. This may be difficult to determine which foods to avoid. Ultimately, causing those who are at their last resort to begin elimination diets such as dairy free diet, vegan diet or keto diet.
Elimination diets can be quite difficult to stick to, moreover, if done incorrectly it can cause other health issues even with their eczema still existing. Though, a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and cutting out food such as dairy, sugars and simple carbs that contribute to inflammation may be helpful to reduce eczema flares. Further steps to help reduce flares include anti-inflammatory foods.
Some anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fish – natural omega-3 fatty acid
- Omega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation in the body
- Examples – salmon, tuna, mackerel
- Fruits and Vegetables – high in flavonoids
- Flavonoids are important because they are antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
- Examples – colourful fruits and vegetables such as apples, broccoli, cherries, and spinach
- Probiotics – bacteria that promote a healthy gut
- Good gut health decreases inflammation
- Examples – yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, miso and tempeh
As everyone is different, consulting a trusted dietitian or health care provider before making drastic food changes in your diet is recommended to create a well-balanced diet to relieve your eczema.